Explosive Growth From The Stage: Some Pro Speaking Tips

Websites, social media, and billboards are all useful, but ultimately, your best tool for attracting new law firm clients may be your own voice. By demonstrating your expertise in a specific area of law, you can establish trust with your audience, thereby proving that they can benefit from your law firm’s services. Giving a presentation can be unnerving, however, even if you’re accustomed to appearing in front of other people in court.

Preparation is key, which is why you can benefit from these helpful hints:

Target Your Appearances Based On Your Practice Area

It doesn’t matter how amazing of a speaker you are — your presentation will be useless if you stand up in front of the wrong crowd. The topic you choose should be relevant to your audience — and your audience should be made up of potential clients who can actually benefit from your firm’s legal services. If you specialize in elder law and estate planning, schedule an appearance at a local senior center or AARP event. If you primarily handle family matters, your message will resonate best at conferences for couples or single parents.

Select Trending Topics

Attract attention with a topic that is immediately relevant to your audience — ideally something they’ve heard lately in the news. Find a natural way to connect this topic with important legal principles. Relevant topics will keep audience members more engaged — and more likely to invest in your services in the future.

Get Published

Choosing a target audience is just the first step. Next, you need an in, especially if you plan to speak at a major conference. Not just anybody will be accepted — you need an impressive background. Many lawyers set themselves apart via trade journals and other publications. Research and write an in-depth article about a relevant area of interest, and get it published in a major law journal. Highlight this publication when pitching to conferences, and offer to speak on the topic.

Marketing to Other Lawyers

Many lawyers speak at conferences in hopes of finding new clients, but public appearances can also help you develop working relationships with other legal professionals, while also attracting the best and brightest talent to your firm. If you’re on the hunt for a talented new attorney, try talking at a law school or in front of your local bar association.

Speaking engagements can dramatically raise your profile in the local community and across a broader region.

Use The Competition’s Failure To Your Advantage

Whether you’re on the hunt for new clients or new attorneys, it’s important to focus your efforts so that you take on only the best. Many firms have tried—and failed—to enhance their scope, and while their demise is unfortunate, you can learn a great deal from their failures. Keep the following in mind as you strive to avoid common law firm pitfalls:

  1. Look carefully for lawyers who actually match your legal approach and your firm’s culture.

Few things will destroy your firm more quickly than fighting between partners. All lawyers at your firm need to be on the same page from the outset. Be discerning in your recruitment efforts, and only offer positions to those you are certain will fit in.

  1. Focus not only on your recruiting efforts, but also the general scope of your firm.

Both clients and prospective employees are often suspicious of jack-of-all-trade firms that offer a myriad of services. In most cases, your best bet is to focus your efforts on a few specific practice areas or types of clients. Make your area of focus very obvious on your website, social media pages, and in any other marketing efforts.

  1. Realize your worth as a lawyer and as a law firm.

Many solo law firms fail because they are too desperate to snag clients. Don’t lose your integrity by offering major discounts or policy concessions when they’re not warranted. Be willing to give up a bad client or two as you search not for any client, but for the right client.

  1. Don’t play it safe.

Far too many law firms avoid potentially big cases in favor of sticking with tried and tested clients and cases. While there is definitely value in knowing your brand and sticking with it, there is also a place for calculated risks. For example, during the post-recession period in which law firms were failing left and right, the attorneys of BuckleySandler decided to take a big risk and cater to financial clients. Since opening, the firm has nearly quadrupled in size; today, it boasts an impressive team of 150 attorneys.

  1. Think long-term while hiring and promoting employees.

Succession is a big concern that many lawyers fail to think through until it’s too late. If you manage a small law firm and have yet to groom a successor, it’s time to get started. As you make key hiring and promotion decisions, think carefully about how you want your firm to look in ten or twenty years.